The European Union (EU), through its Higher Education Agenda, has identified entrepreneurship education as a top priority for the years to come (EC 2017; 2019). Entrepreneurial competencies, such as curiosity, creativity and many more, are believed to be ‘decisive for lifelong learning’ and for the survival of our prosperous economy (EC 2017). If taught from a very young age, entrepreneurial skills will enable our future leaders to be more innovative and productive in the social, private, and public sectors. Nonetheless, the understanding of entrepreneurship education (EE) remains limited even amongst teachers themselves and several EU governments have failed to promote policy that favours the teaching of EE in Initial Teacher Education (ITE).
With this premise, the Erasmus+ funded project Young Entrepreneurial Teachers Initiative (YETI) is launched to tackle these issues and to empower the first cohort of ITE students to teach entrepreneurial skills to their (future) pupils. YETI is a follow-up project of the Partnership for Initial Entrepreneurship Teacher Education (PIETE) that has the goal to raise awareness about EE amongst ITE educators.
YETI partners have set several objectives within the project:
• To empirically assess the terminological and conceptual understanding of EE among ITE students.
• To raise awareness for the educational benefits of EE among ITE students.
• To acquaint ITE students with entrepreneurial intervention methods, profile their entrepreneurial competence portfolio and enable them to integrate elements of EE into their practical teaching.
• To help teacher candidates to translate gained EE knowledge from rather simulative university contexts into actual classroom environments at an early stage of their teaching career.
• To showcase actual EE interventions of students to inspire other European ITE stakeholder.
• To enhance the level of entrepreneurial learning interventions at the school level by embracing a new generation of well proficient entrepreneurial teachers.
As mentioned, YETI will primarily target ITE students. More specifically, the programme focusses on students that are going through their first teaching experience either through internships – “practicum” – or the in-service “induction” phase. The goal is to help them develop entrepreneurial intervention methods, as well as enabling them to integrate elements of EE in their teaching. In addition, the programme will also impact ITE educators that will prepare and supervise the (aspiring) teachers, and Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) and schools, with special regard to school leaders as they will be the ones evaluating and supervising the future teachers. Finally, throughout the YETI journey, we will produce a total of six outputs to support the target groups in the achievement of the goals and objectives abovementioned.
• A Teacher Pathway Report, which serves as a map of the different educational pathways undergone by aspiring teachers, from ITE to autonomous teaching.
• A Conceptual Screening Report that assesses the ITE students’ terminological and conceptual understanding of EE
• A Personal Entrepreneurial Canvas Model, aiming to raise awareness about the educational benefits of EE.
• A School Transfer Strategy Handbook that translates EE knowledge from a simulative university context into an actual classroom environment, pointing out the challenges of knowledge transfer from ITE to a classroom setting.
• An Entrepreneurial Education Hub to collect material, such as tools, activity ideas, lesson plans and more, and make them available globally to stimulate entrepreneurial teaching interventions.
• Lastly, an Intervention Showcase Collection that gathers 15+ successful cases of entrepreneurial learning interventions, that are part of curricular teaching in ITE (senior) students.
To conclude, the YETI project will have a lifelong impact on generations to come by teaching fundamental skills that will enable our future leaders to be more innovative and productive in their day-to-day life.
Authored by Mario Ceccarelli, UIIN.
YETI website can be accessed here: https://yetiproject.eu/